Monday, December 20, 2010

North Carolina I Will Never Forget You Part One

Well, I actually cried leaving Larry & Rachel Charpiat's home tonight.  But more about that later....

On Sunday morning I awoke at the lovely B&B and decided that, since I only had a two hour drive to my next stop, I would take a look around Mt. Airy, which is the town where Andy Griffith grew up and upon which his fictional "Mayberry" is based.  These folks really know how to do it up right for the tourists.  There's the Andy Griffith Museum, the Andy Griffith Playhouse, and then of course downtown there's Floyd's Barber Shop, the town Jail and Courthouse and Snappy's Restaurant among other things.  I enjoyed my time there even though most of the stuff was not open.  It was cool to see the TV Land statue of Andy and Opie set in front of the Andy Griffith Museum and the Surry Arts Council building, which actually has a sign out front that says "Siamese Twins Exhibit." It made me wonder what other TV Land statues were out there.  I only know about two others...Mary Tyler Moore and Ralph Kramden.  Do you know of any others?
  I wanted to use the internet so I went and hung out a McDonald's for a little while and while I was there I sat across from an older gentleman who looked a lot like Deputy Barney Fife.  He seemed kind of lonely so I just talked to him for a little while, and later, as I was leaving town, I saw him outside just walking around alone. That made me feel kind of sad.

It was a nice day and a relatively short drive to Indian Trail, where I arrived at the home of Lisa and David Brown in plenty of time to get set up and then go spend a little time at the hotel.  I arrived back in time for a delicious supper of chili and then chat up the little church choir, The Soaring Eagles, that David had invited to sing with me.  They were all real sweeties and I could see that they were excited to be there, so that made me excited too.

The show was especially fun because of the kids in the choir. They did a couple of fantastic numbers before I started and joined me for Schoolyard Rudolph and Pickles.  Once they got over being nervous they seemed to have a fun time.  There were a ton of people out on the street for this show and to see the beautifully decorated houses.  It really is quite spectacular..especially the huge angels that are on the little of them actually flies up into the air during "The House on Christmas Street."  Lisa and David won the Planet Christmas decorating contest last year for their synchronization to "The House on Christmas Street" so it was really special for me to sing it at their house.

 David Brown had somehow arranged for a stage and really good lighting which made it easier to see the people in the street and to get them out there dancing.  The street , which is a cul de sac, was blocked off during the concert and people were, literally, dancing in the street.  It wasn't too cold that night so that made it all the better!  Their  light show for "The House on Christmas Street" features Charlie Brown and Linus as "the carolers" and one of the most amazing things I saw on the tour:  a "flying" angel who rises up during the "bridge" of the song. If you want to see what I'm talking about , watch their video here:  I also really like their "Christ is Born" sign on the roof.  Very very beautiful!
I was touched by the speech that was made after the concert by the lady from the Union County Christmas Bureau, the charity that the Browns help support with their display. I just learned that this season they raised $4200 so that area families could have nice Christmases.  Congratulations David and Lisa!  Well done!
But the thing that actually brought tears to my eyes was when the Indian Trail Mayor came up to the stage and presented me with an actual key to the city.  I was really surprised and at a loss for words. I felt so honored and just speechless to be honored in that way.  It is beautiful and if you'd like to see it just look in my Facebook pictures.  It will be displayed on the mantel in our living room along with the engraved brick I got in Elgin, TX and the little "Danny Award" for Biggest Red Coat I was given by the XTRA 99.1 guys in Gloucester, VA.
 Speaking of Neal, he and his cohorts love to call me up and, if I don't answer, leave the phone on to record about half an hour of their show on my messages.  It's always fun to listen to, but this morning I heard a bunch of chickens singing "Carol of the Bells" which was weird, even for them.

 After the show and autographs were done the street was opened up and David and Lisa had to be out there directing traffic as car after car came up the street to watch their show.  I really enjoyed their program as well.  They really make quite a show out of it with not just songs but interesting effects and even Linus and Charlie Brown discussing the meaning of Christmas.  There were people parked along the side of the road who didn't want to leave because they'd missed the beginning of the really kept people entertained!

Back on track now, I want to say a huge THANK YOU to David and Lisa, a wonderful couple who really went out of their way to make sure a lot of publicity was done for the event and who, like everyone else on the tour, made me feel like a very special guest.  I don't know what I'm going to feel like when I have to go home and just be plain old Judy again.  All of this pampering has really spoiled me!

Well, I thought I'd have enough energy to go ahead and write about tonight's show here too, but I'm fading fast so that will have to wait and you'll have to find out why I was a blubbering mess when I left there when I next write again.....

Good night!  It's on to the Fred Olds Elementary School in Raleigh tomorrow and then on to South Carolina!

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